The American singer-songwriter, Emitt Rhodes has died aged 70. Chris Price and his representative confirmed to Pitchfork that Rhodes died in his sleep. He helped pioneer power pop with a series of beloved solo albums in the 1970s.
Rhodes was born in Decatur, Illinois. He played in multiple bands, including the 1960s garage rock band the Palace Guard. Their 1967 song “Falling Sugar” appears on the Nuggets compilation. He went on to join the psychedelic rock group the Merry-Go-Round, who were signed to A&M Records and released one self-titled album in 1967.
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Singer Emitt Rhodes Has Died Aged 70
After the Merry-Go-Round disbanded, Rhodes pursued a career as a solo musician. A&M released one album featuring Rhodes’ early solo masters called The American Dream in 1970. His first proper solo album, which he recorded and mixed entirely on his own, was 1970’s Emitt Rhodes.
“When I recorded Emitt Rhodes, I was basically investing in myself,” Rhodes told Paul Myers in 2015 for Mojo Magazine. “That was kinda how I saw it. I spent any money that I made from making the records with the record company to buy the equipment that I used to make my own records.”
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ABC/Dunhill released 1971’s Mirror and 1973’s Farewell to Paradise, and then the label sued Rhodes for not fulfilling his contractual obligation to record two albums each year. “It was a Herculean task and it was impossible for me to do,” he told Myers. As a result, he walked away from his career as a recording artist.
“There were lawsuits and lawyers and I wasn’t having any fun anymore,” Rhodes explained in a 2001 interview with Steven Hyden. “That’s it. Simple as that. I worked really hard and there was no reward.”